Teach Your Son Cooking
Cooking is a girl's thing. Wrong, but it is a held belief in most countries, cultures and religions.
It's not unusual to hear educated men in 2015 complain that modern girls are not 'wife material' because they don't know how to cook and clean.
Cooking is a matter of survival, especially because boys might leave home for college or work abroad. They will rely on take-out food or T.V. dinners if they don't know how to cook. Eating out everyday is not an option because it's expensive.
Boys Cooking Lessons
The main reason why parents should teach their sons how to cook is an open secret. They are human beings. People and animals have one thing in common, they are living creatures and they tend to get hungry.
Boys should learn at an early age that the kitchen is the only room at home that doesn’t have a lock. I do not remember seeing a news item that a little boy fainted in class because of hunger.
“You didn’t have breakfast?” asks the teacher, terrified.
“No Maam. The kitchen was locked.”
Boys should get used to the idea that they should go there when they are hungry. Their mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives are there just to love them.
If they want to cook for them that is fine, but a 19 year-old man should not be texting his girlfriend, ‘Do you have anything to eat at your place?’
Old Enough To Cook
Canadian law regards a 19-year old as a man. He has attained the age of majority. It depends where you live though. In some provinces, 18 is the magic number (see table below).
Most states in the U.S. regard boys as men at 18, with Mississippi being the exception. The age of majority is 21 in that southern state. Somebody who can vote, sue or be sued and generally take care of his affairs should also attend to the affairs of his stomach.
The driver’s license is another example. If a boy can get a learner’s driver’s licence at 16 and drive a car with an adult in the passenger seat, he is old enough to put two chicken thighs in a pot, half a cup of water, add a pinch of salt, some spices, diced onion and tomatoes, boil at medium heat, then lower heat to pot-roast.
Teach them at 8 years
My favourite online advertisement is for a margarine brand. We see a little boy helping his mum cook salmon. I am partial to salmon myself but that is beside the point.
This ad highlights two things: the boy is at an age where he loves to be around his mum and that he is eager to learn from her. This paradise won’t last. Grab the opportunity while you are still the apple of your son’s eye.
We therefore recommend that you try teaching him how to cook when he is eight or nine. Ten is dangerous because he might be in love with new-found friends, sports or the propensity to sulk.
The 8 years depend on:
Can he read things on the stove like high low or medium?
Is he tall enough to put things on the stove and inside the kitchen sink?
Are you comfortable with him using knives, plugging and unplugging kettles and blenders?
In a nutshell, safety is paramount.
The introduction to cooking is spread over time. It will be something you do after picking him up from school or after the school bus drops him. It will also be your Saturday bonding. Cooking 101 has little modules or lessons.
Lesson 1: Prepare a grocery list. This will lay the foundation for good spelling and the importance of planning.
Lesson 2: Grocery store. What is an aisle, grocery sections like vegetables, poultry, meat, bakery, dried goods, or pasta?
Lesson 3: The stove. I know you have that magician called a microwave but we’ll use the stove for this cooking initiation. Tell him the stove is like home.
It has different rooms. You roast chicken, fish and Thanksgiving turkey in here, using those knobs. You grill mushrooms and bell peppers here and you put pots on top of the stove.
Lesson 4: Safety. Water and electricity is a bad idea, as in painfully bad. No cell phones or video games. Cooking needs total concentration otherwise something or someone might get burnt.
Those long pot handles should face in a particular direction otherwise they might be caught in his sleeve and tip over. He should not put dish cloths on the stove. They might catch fire as in Soul Food, the 1997 movie directed by George Tillman Jr.
Exercise: Tell him to lightly butter a slice of multi-grain or brown bread. Supervise him as he cuts a block of cheese into slices. He must open the stove and take out grill tray, put the toast under the grill.
Give him pan holders or a dish towel because your oven mitts are too big for him. Ask him to slice half a tomato and place on the plate around the grilled cheese toast.
Lesson 5: Shapes and Colours: Food preparation is an art. Watch Ang Lee’s movie Eat Drink Man Woman if you don’t believe me. Give him a potato peeler.
Show him how to cut potatoes into shapes for French Fries and square shapes for soups. Ask him to make different shapes from an apple.
A growing boy will find other interests later on in life, but what you instilled in him about cooking will help him in the long run. He will not be Roger Mooking, the Canadian chef but he will not go to bed hungry.
As for advertising, it shows that there are still very few women in advertising decision making. Advertising uses mostly women to advertise detergents for washing clothes and dishes.
It is the same for cleaning floors and toilets. It is the same with cooking advertisements. It is mostly little girls that help mummy in the kitchen.
Advertising does not understand that there are millions of men who live alone, do their own cooking, washing and cleaning, including toilet bowls.